Perez claims ‘one club infected others’ before English teams backtracked on ESL

Florentino Perez was doing the media rounds again on Wednesday, attempting to salvage at least some of the reputation of the seemingly collapsed European Super League.

The footballing world looked on in disgust on Sunday evening, as it came to light that 12 of the world’s biggest clubs had signed up to the competition, six of those coming from the Premier League.

Thankfully the idea was met with an onslaught of criticism from fans, players and pundits alike, and by Tuesday night, it appeared to have crumbled before it had even gotten started.

One of the key drivers behind the ESL, Florentino Perez, has now gone on the record saying one club in particular played a key part in its downfall. He did refuse to namedrop his accusations, though quite blatantly alluded to a Manchester club.

Given City’s inclusion in the whole thing seeming extra bizarre due to them having no members of the proposed board of the ESL, it wouldn’t be too much of a jump to put the pieces together.

“There was someone among the six English teams who did not have much interest in the Super League and that began to infect others. It is a team that was never convinced,” Pérez told Cadena Ser’s programme El Larguero on Wednesday.

“The owners of Manchester began to make a manipulated campaign that we were going to finish with the leagues and that the merits were not rewarded,” he added.

Perez also used the interview to insist this was just a bump in the road, that all the clubs were tied into a binding contract and that a new iteration of the competition would arrive at some point.

“The Super League project is now in stand-by, I can confirm,” he continued.

“Juventus and AC Milan have not left the Super League. Real Madrid, Barcelona, Juventus and AC Milan are still in talks to find solutions.

“If this project didn’t work, another one will. Remember: all the 12 clubs have signed a binding contract.”

Despite his claims, it is worth noting that Juventus’ Andrea Agnelli had said it was “evidently not the case” that the ESL could go ahead, and Milan’s Paolo Maldini had apologised for his club’s involvement, while adding that he too had been blindsided by their inclusion.

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